(MEDORA) - Police and a Medora resident killed two hogs running through Medora streets Monday.
The animals were originally thought to have been feral or wild hogs, but state officials aren't so sure and are still investigating the incident.
"We received a report of the hogs being shot," says DNR Biologist Steve Backs, "But those pigs escaped from a farmer's pen. They are not wild hogs, The pigs do exhibit some wild looking traits but they also exhibit traits we see in domestic breeds. I think the fact that we have located the owner who indicates they escaped from his penned area the day or morning before discounts the idea that they came running in from the wild."
Backs says a DNR official saw the pigs after they were killed and reported one of them had a blonde-color to it.
Wild hogs have been a common sight in wooded areas of Jackson and Lawrence County for years.
But Monday's report would be the first time the animals have been seen inside Medora town limits, Jackson County Sheriff Michael Carothers says.
Two or three hogs were seen, and two were shot and killed, Medora Town Marshal Steve Ingle added. One was a boar, and the other was a sow.
Carothers said the hogs, which typically reach weights of 200 to 300 pounds, have been spotted more frequently in the Sparksville area of Carr Township in southwest Jackson County.
One of the hogs Monday charged at Medora Reserve Officer Shane Collier, but no one was injured, Ingle says.
Ingle was unsure what drew the animals into town unless they were searching for food.
Medora resident Rudy Ault said he suspects the hogs are a cross between wild and domesticated hogs.
State officials are awaiting more information about the Medora hogs before saying whether they were wild, says Phil Bloom, director of communications with the Department of Natural Resources.
"Based on preliminary information that we've received, they appear to have been pot-bellied pigs or some sort of hybrid," Bloom says. "We have not seen photos, though. We are waiting on those."
Anyone who encounters a wild hog causing property damage or threatening a person can shoot the animal, but that could pose a problem within town limits, Carothers says.
If you run across one of the feral hogs, Ingle or one of his officers can be dispatched to deal with the animal.
"I'd rather they do that than just start opening fire in town," he added.
Feral hogs can be trapped rather than shot, Carothers says. Trapped animals must be killed within 24 hours. State law prohibits keeping feral hogs captive.
The animals also can carry a number of diseases that can be transferred to domestic swine or other animals, according to the DNR.
The state reports on its website that wild hogs are a concern to the agricultural community because they can cause extensive damage to crops, are a source of disease for domestic livestock and will prey on young livestock and small animals.
Wild hogs may also carry a number of diseases that can infect people and can contaminate human food sources and water supplies, the DNR says.
The animals also pose a threat to the environment and wildlife, Carothers says.
Lawrence County Commissioner Dave Flinn, who also is a farmer says, the wild hogs are a problem.
"They cause more than $5,000 in damage every year," Flinn says. "I can plant a 50-acre field and in one night they will devour all the seeds and have the field destroyed."
Flinn says he kills several hogs every year.
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